Liz Cutting ARPS DPAGB
I took up photography in the mid 1990s and I set up a darkroom in the cellar. I was no doubt pleased with some of my images at the time, but looking back now, I realise they were not very good. However, I did get help and encouragement from my local club, Ipswich & District. I worked exclusively in black & white at that time and my main subject matter was landscapes, though I also did some environmental portraits. I worked in 35mm and medium format, and my photography gradually improved.

I bought my first digital camera in 2005 and immediately adopted a scatter-gun approach - shooting anything and everything. At about the same time, a new local photographic club - The Beyond Group - was born, and I was one of the founder members. Photographically, this was one of the best things that's happened to me and I greatly prefer the small group dynamics. I have thrived on the encouragement that I have been given by other members.

Early in 2008 I decided to concentrate on nature photography. I am now absolutely 'hooked', especially on birds, and cannot spend enough time out in the field. A keen naturalist, I have been a member of the RSPB since the early 1970s and after taking early retirement from full-time employment in 2003, I worked part-time for them for 8+ years. I still volunteer in the conservation sector and in particular I am very involved with dormouse conservation in Suffolk and Essex.

Much of my photography is local and although I now travel further afield in the UK and abroad, it is still photographing wildlife in my local area that gives me the greatest thrill. Like many nature photographers, I prefer to be out on my own so I try to find quiet places and avoid busy times. I enjoy the field craft that makes nature photography a unique experience as well as the unpredictability of chance encounters. More than anything, I love observing real nature encounters and I enjoy being the only human watching things unfold. Where possible I like to develop a relationship with a site and get to know it well, rather than just be a 'voyeur'. I am not one for chasing after rarities; all too often such species are surrounded by many other photographers and birders and this is certainly not my scene. Some of the sites I frequent are nature reserves that are open to the public, but I am also lucky to have access to several private sites in pursuit of my passion. I am greatly endebted to a couple of private landowners and to experienced nature photographers for their help and encouragement.

I enter national and international photography exhibitions and some of my images have been used by the RSPB, Suffolk Ornithology Group, Suffolk Naturalists Society and the British Trust for Ornithology amongst others and have appeared in local and national newspapers, journals, Christmas cards and the 2007-11 Bird Atlas.